A career in law enforcement is one of the most rewarding, challenging, and selfless professions out there. The Guns and Yoga podcast explores the intersection between the impact a first responder career can have on those on the job, their families, and the importance of adopting and maintaining a holistic lifestyle.
Wendy Hummell is a seasoned law enforcement officer in the Midwest with close to 25 years experience. She is a LEO spouse, mother, and wellness enthusiast. She knows first-hand the difficulties this line of work can bring. For the past decade, Wendy has been exploring various ways to improve her emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical well – being. She continues to learn and has a passion for sharing these tools to improve the quality of life not only for herself and her family, but for all first responders.
Wendy is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. She teaches yoga, mindfulness, and resiliency to first responders at her current agency where she works as the Health and Wellness Coordinator. She also teaches throughout the state of Kansas and other national platforms. Wendy retired from the Wichita Police Department in 2019 at the rank of Detective where she spent a majority of her career working persons crimes.
The intention of this podcast is to add value, provide support, and share resources by providing a platform for honest conversations with first responders, family members, retirees, and wellness experts.
Whether you are a law enforcement officer, work in corrections, dispatch, Fire, EMS, The Prosecutors Office, the Coroners Officer, are a member of the military, family member or anyone who supports front line workers, please subscribe today and hear hear the stories of these brave men and women, the challenges and difficulties they have faced; the wonderful programs, people, and resources available to support first responders.
Sonny Provetto is a former police officer and a trauma-focused therapist. He is the Clinical Director at The Vermont Center for Responder Wellness & The Institute for Trauma Recovery and Resilience. It is a comprehensive treatment center for first responders that uses a multi-disciplinary approach to healing traumatic stress. They treat trauma at its core by using EMDR, biofeedback, and trauma-sensitive yoga as tools to help responders heal from their trauma.
Sonny and I discuss his personal experience with EMDR, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and how it helped him to heal from PTS.
This week I talk with Within the Trenches podcast host, Ricardo Martinez. He worked as a dispatcher for 13 years and is doing amazing things within the dispatch world by bringing awareness to issues surrounding burnout, wellness, and self-care through the power of storytelling. He talks about how burying his own calls and not reaching out was personally detrimental to him, and used this as motivation for what started as a college project blog and eventually turned in to what he has created today with his Within the Trenches podcast. His podcast is based on his own experiences as a 911 dispatcher. The stories he shares are based on all types of calls. The show is informative, funny, and eye opening. Dispatchers around the globe have been featured on the podcast.
He is the founder of Within the Trenches media, the IAM911 movement, and the Dare to Be Great Conference series.
Today’s guest is Stephanie Samuels, the founder and director of COPLINE, a 24/7 hotline manned by vetted and retired LEOs, she is a psychotherapist that specializes in working with police officers and their families, a trainer, an author, and she hosts her own show, Steph Therapy 911.
This week, we continue with our Podcaster Series. I speak with Garrett TeSlaa, veteran law enforcement sergeant and host of the successful podcast, The Squad Room. Garrett left a successful career in the music and film industry in 2005 to pursue a life in public service. Garrett is now an active duty 16-year law enforcement veteran and sergeant for a sheriff's office in Southern California. Garrett has held assignments in patrol, gang investigations, community relations, internal affairs, and media relations among many others; and, has been involved in numerous critical incidents that have received international media attention. Garrett holds a Masters in Public Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership and Public Sector Management and is a graduate of the Sherman Block Supervisory Leadership Institute. Garrett hosts the successful podcast The Squad Room devoted to personal development for first responders. He is also a TEDx speaker and contributing writer for PoliceOne and Law Enforcement Today.
This week, we continue our first responder podcast series. During the month of June, we will be releasing podcast episodes in which I talk with fellow first responder podcasters.
In today’s episode, I speak with Dr. Rachelle Zemlok. She is a licensed child and family psychologist in California. She specializes in supporting and educating first responder families in private practice. She is married to a firefighter and has three siblings in law enforcement so she knows first hand the impact a career as a first responder can have on families. In her practice she helps provide first responder families with information that will help keep them healthy and resilient despite those impacts.
Dr. Zemlok is also a mother of two young children, the author of “The Firefighter Family Academy: A Guide to Educate and Prepare Spouses for the Career Ahead”. She has an active on line presence and a blog on her website geared towards supporting and educating first responder spouses.
Today’s guest is James Geering. If you don’t yet know James, you are in for a treat. He is a Rockstar and trailblazer in the arena of first responder well-being. He is a retired firefighter/paramedic, author, and successful podcaster.
James served for 14 years as a firefighter/paramedic on both the east and west coasts. He was inspired to start the Behind the Shield Podcast in 2016 after experiencing personal loss of those he served along side with. He is also an author of the book “One More Light: Life, Death and Humanity Through the Eyes of a Firefighter”.
Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Brady Pilster. Brady is the Vice President for Strategic Partnerships for CORDICO. For those of you not familiar with Cordico, Cordico is the leader in officer wellness technology. CordicoShield Wellness Apps are confidential, available 24/7, easy to use, proactive wellness solutions customized for law enforcement agencies of every type and size. CordicoShield provides law enforcement with powerful handheld wellness resources, anonymous self-assessments, access to peer support, geo-mapping of vetted therapists, one-touch calling, on-demand tools targeting critical incidents, depression, suicide risk, and much more.
Pam Opoka is the Public Safety Training Coordinator and Peer Support Program Planner at Mid-America Regional Council (MARC). She has over 25 years of experience in Public Safety and has a master’s degree in Public Administration and is an ENP or Emergency Number Professional. Pam is active in University Research projects for peer support efficacy. She is currently the co-chair of National Emergency Number Association’s Wellness Committee Peer Support Work Group and is a member of NENA’s Education Advisory Board. Pam is also on the State of MO Service Board Training Committee and the State of KS Coordinating Council Training Committee. She is an advocate for mental health and wellness for public safety professionals.
Pam spent years working as a dispatcher and knows first hand the mental and physical risks posed by the cumulative stress associated with working under the headset. Pam is passionate about supporting her fellow dispatchers and other first responders through wellness programming, peer support, and more.